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RiverDay focuses on Cuyahoga’s natural, cultural resources

5/9/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Kathleen Folkerth

Cuyahoga Falls will be the site of a cleanup effort on RiverDay May 18. Shown are participants from a previous RiverDay event.
Photo courtesy of Friends of the Crooked River
GREATER AKRON — For Friends of the Crooked River, every day is a reason to celebrate the Cuyahoga River.

But one day a year, the organization asks others to support and consider the river that runs through Akron to Cleveland.

RiverDay is May 18, and 26 events — from cleanups to bike rides and art openings — will take place at 16 locations in Northeast Ohio, many of them in Summit County.

Elaine Marsh, conservation director for the Friends of the Crooked River, said this is RiverDay’s 23rd year.

“We always had great hopes that it would endure over the years,” said Marsh, a Bath resident. “It seems we keep all of our old events and we keep adding new ones. We’re delighted it’s grown and we’re delighted that people have chosen to spotlight the day with all kinds of creative ideas.”

One of the projects taking place in Akron will be a cleanup on the banks of the Little Cuyahoga River in the Cascade Village community.

Donna Webb, a Highland Square resident and University of Akron (UA) art professor, has just completed a yearlong sabbatical that saw her work with residents of the public housing area on public art projects and other activities. She will be part of the cleanup as well.

“The river goes right down the middle of the neighborhood — half of the residents are on one side and half are on the other side,” Webb said. “My goals have been to pay attention to the history of the neighborhood that developed from Elizabeth Park, to pay attention to the landscape and pay attention to the creativity of the people who live there.”

Webb said residents will congregate for the cleanup along with other interested citizens.

“There’s quite a bit of trash that has collected along the river bank,” she said. “There’s plenty to pick up. We’ll also do a testing of the water and talk to people about the progress made to get the river cleaner.”

The city of Akron’s plans to address combined sewer overflow also will be discussed, she added.

“This is a neighborhood that we’re happy to embrace and we hope that does well,” Marsh said, adding that it’s a new project for RiverDay.

Events will take place in Summit, Cuyahoga, Portage and Geauga counties. For a complete list of events, go to www.cuyahogariver.net. Here are the projects taking place in the West Side Leader’s coverage area:

  • Cuyahoga Valley National Park (CVNP) cleanup, presented by the National Park Service (NPS) and the Conservancy for CVNP, 10 a.m.-noon and 1-3 p.m. Volunteers will plant trees and remove trash within the watershed. The project is open to those 7 and older. The location will be available upon registration. Register to participate by calling 330-657-2299.
  • Junior Ranger: Rambling Along the River, presented by NPS, 9:30-11:30 a.m. Children ages 7-12 can try their hand at water-quality science. Those who complete three Junior Ranger activities will earn a patch. The location will be available upon registration. Register to participate by calling 800-642-3297, ext. 100.
  • Water Quality Testing, presented by NPS, 1:30-3:30 p.m., Boston Store Visitor Center, 1548 Boston Mills Road, Peninsula. Stop to talk with a ranger about water testing.
  • RiverDay: Art and Music in Peninsula. Events will include Fairies on the Farm at Heritage Farms, 6050 Riverview Road, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; artists’ reception at the Log Cabin Gallery, 1671 Main St., 3 to 5 p.m.; artists’ reception and opening of Ebb and Flow exhibit, Peninsula Art Academy, 1600 Mill St. West, 5 to 7 p.m.; and a 12- to 15-mile Night Bike Ride on the Ohio & Erie Canalway Towpath Trail starting at Century Cycles, 1621 Main St., 8 p.m.
  • RiverDay at Cascade Village, presented by Cascade Village Public Art and UA, 10 a.m.-noon, 210 E. North St., Akron. Learn about the Little Cuyahoga and help pick up trash. Children younger than 18 must have adult supervision. Individuals are welcome, but groups are asked to preregister at 330-253-9484.
  • Bike Along the Little Cuyahoga River, sponsored by Cascade Valley Park Association, 11 a.m., meet at the Mustill Store, 248 Ferndale St. The trip allows riders to get to know the river from the Ohio & Erie Canalway Towpath Trail. For details, call 330-374-5625.
  • 2013 Cuyahoga Falls Great American RiverDay Cleanup and Beautification Project, sponsored by Cuyahoga Falls, Keep America Beautiful and the State Road Donato’s Pizza, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Help plant flowers, pull invasive plants and pick up trash along the river. Supplies and lunch will be provided. The location will be available upon registration. Register to participate by calling 330-971-8201.
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